Picture Book A to Z: PLOTTING

Online On Demand | Picture Books
Take this deep, deep dive into picture book structure with lessons on each letter of the “Picture Book Alphabet” designed by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. This on-demand course is designed to give you tools and knowledge to plot your picture books with care.


Take this deep, deep dive into picture book structure with lessons on each letter of the “Picture Book Alphabet” designed by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. This on-demand course is designed to give you tools and knowledge to plot your picture books with care.

Online, On-Demand Self-Paced Course

  • Included are five chapters prepared online lessons that you can access on-demand for up to 6 months from the date of your registration.

Why This Course?

If A is for ARC, and Z is for ZILLIONS: just imagine all the learning that happens in between. Get ready to read, write, and WORK on all things Picture Book Plot from A to Z!

In this course, you will explore every aspect of picture book plotting, including:

  • Narrative arc: beginnings, middles & endings
  • Components: character, theme, setting, word play, humor, dialogue, description
  • Illustration and page turns
  • Repetition and word play

In addition, you will:

  • View lessons (Most written, with some pre-recorded video)
  • Complete assignments
  • Learn about writing query letters and pitching your picture book
  • Analyze mentor texts

You might also like to check out the companion course Picture Book A to Z: CHARACTER, An On-Demand Online Course.

Feedback Expected

  • No formal feedback will be offered.  
  • You will have access to an optional (but encouraged), facilitated, peer group workshopping of one picture book. (See exact dates below for 2023 workshopping.)
  • A limited number of 1:1 consultations are available with Sudipta for an additional fee ($125). Information available for purchase of consultations once enrolled in the course.

It’s a Great Fit If…

  • You want to write picture books. This in-depth course will ensure that you have a thorough understanding of how to plot a compelling picture book.
  • You have written a picture book(s) but aren’t sure it’s ready to submit. Making time for this course means you will learn how to revise and strengthen your story.
  • You’ve written a story for children but have no idea about how to submit it to publishers. This course will give you best practices for revising and submitting your work.
  • You’ve been published in magazines but would like to see your book in print. This course can help you build on your strong writing skills to put together a powerful picture book.
  • You need a workshop you can complete at your own pace. You can work through the lessons individually.

Detailed Agenda

Lessons: Most Written, with Some Pre-Recorded Video

You will have access to this course for 6 months from your registration. It’s designed to be completed at your own pace.  There are five chapters, with approximately 30 total lessons, including:

Chapter One

Topics include:

  • Introduction
  • Narrative arc
  • Beginnings & endings
  • Urgency and tension
  • Character
  • Dialogue

Writing assignments:

  • Arcs
  • Ticking clock
  • Dialogue
Chapter Two

Topics include:

  • Foreshadowing
  • Character problem-solving
  • Hooking the reader
  • Marketing and pitching
  • Humor
  • Internal quest

Writing assignments:

  • Emotional journey
  • Pitching your story
Chapter Three

Topics include:

  • Jokes
  • Formulas
  • Action
  • Pacing
  • Energy
  • Layout

Writing assignments:

  • Picture book cheat sheet
  • Picture book layout
Chapter Four

Topics include:

  • Models,
  • Non-traditional formats,
  • Obstacles,
  • Page turns

Writing assignments:

  • Picture book analysis
  • Query writing
  • Refrains
Chapter Five

Topics include:

  • Setting
  • Theme
  • Visuals
  • Final thoughts

Writing assignments:

  • Plotting checklist
  • Setting
Optional Workshopping Session
  • Thursday, March 23 at 7pm Eastern: Optional facilitated workshopping of one picture book manuscript. 

Commitment Required for the Best Experience

You can work through these lessons at your own pace, and you’ll have six months from the date of your registration to do so. For an enhanced experience, you can attend the optional workshopping of one picture book manuscript (see date above).

How It Impacts Kids

Picture books are the first entry point for getting children engaged in story, inviting kids to immerse themselves in the stories they hear–and later, the ones they read. This course will help you learn the components of a strong picture book.

Testimonials from Our Community

“Sudipta provided a wealth of information in the coursework and was very generous with her time during office hours. She knows her stuff!”

“Sudipta is a wonderful teacher in person but the online lessons were also great – so much material laid out in a very accessible way. It is clear she put a lot of work and thought into the class.”

“Even though we were not together in person, I felt the facilitator and Sudipta did a great job in making us feel we were a mini family where we could learn and share freely.”


Meet the Faculty


When you register for this course, you’ll receive information via email about how to access your content.

Learn more about the technology that we use for our on-demand online workshops.

Our Mission in Action

Share Your Story, Inspire a Child
Equity & Inclusion in Kidlit
Partners & Sponsors

The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.